Amid a flurry of changing recommendations, one thing is becoming clear: it’s time to mask up.
Federal and Hawaii state leaders are amplifying the most recent CDC recommendations to wear a protective, cloth face mask when leaving the house. To ensure the safety of our community, Hawaii residents are following suit.
The latest recommendation is to wear cloth masks in places like grocery stores, pharmacies, and takeout food establishments, especially in areas with high rates of community transmission.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is urging Oahu residents to wear a mask every time they go out and state leadership seems to agree.
“It is reasonable to assume that wearing a fabric mask can help prevent the spread of infection to others,” read a recent Hawaii Department of Health announcement (Source).
The CDC and others note that both N95 respirators and surgical masks are critical medical supplies that should be reserved for health workers.
That said, many types of masks are in circulation in the local community. Director of Risk Management, John Fielding, of simplicityHR by ALTRES, recommends being sure to review safety procedures with staff and employees, as well as family members, so we all stay safe.
This article covers:
- Important rules of mask safety
- Links to official sources of mask use and care
- Signs of mask defects or contamination
- Downloadable guidelines for hand hygiene and using disposable gloves
NOTE: If you have a stash of N95 respirator or surgical masks at home, please consider donating them to a healthcare provider on the front lines of the pandemic.
Important rules of mask safety
All masks provide some degree of protection by inhibiting the spread of virus-carrying droplets through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Proper handling and care of these masks will ensure they provide the best protection possible.
One potential problem with masks is that they can provide a false sense of security. In addition to mask use, frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and not touching your face are all effective ways to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Links to sources of mask use and care
- N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks (Face Masks) (FDA)
- Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings (CDC)
- Surgical Mask and Gown Conservation Strategies – Letter to Healthcare Providers (FDA)
- How Hospitals can Decontaminate and Reuse Scarce N95 Masks to Fight COVID-19 (Stanford)
- Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 (CDC)
- When and How to Use Masks (WHO)
Signs of mask defects or contamination
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Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, and readers should consult with their advisor or counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.